Family Breaks in Cork
Craig and I recently stayed at the Maldron Hotel in Cork for a little getaway ourselves and even though it is only a half an hour drive from home it suited us perfectly because we could travel there at our ease, taking the train and being only a short distance away we do not have a long journey to or from. We know the shops and restaurants which is a bonus when you just want to relax and to be honest it was an opportunity for a good night out in the city we love which is a novelty these days.
Despite the fact that city breaks are often overlooked for families breaks, Cork City is a fabulous place to get away with the kids. With an excellent array of city activities combined with high energy outdoor activities just on the doorstep, is why family breaks in Cork are so popular. While the city is fantastic for families, often city centre hotels do not lend themselves to the family tourist. However, the Maldron Hotel in South Mall really impressed me as leading the way for family breaks in Cork.
Family Hotels in Cork
It’s very centrally located within easy walking distance of Patrick’s Street, Opera Lane as well as Fitzgerald’s Park and many of the family activities in the city. I have highlighted the distance to these in more detail below. It’s also just minutes on foot from the main Train Station and Bus Station. In fact you can take the Cobh train which runs regularly from the train station direct into Fota Wildlife Park.
The Maldron Hotel is also an excellent option for families with teens as the location is safe and central should you wish to give them more independence. With the marina market and the cinema close by there are plenty of places for teens to chill.
Family Facilities at The Maldron Hotel South Mall
The Maldron Hotel itself have made many efforts to facilitate their younger guests with good size family rooms (sleeping 2 adults & 3 kids under 12), kids check in and a welcome pack. Within the welcome pack the children will find an activity sheet to complete over their stay and present it at reception where it will be hung for all to see as well as receiving a little prize. Brilliant to keep them entertained and motivated during meal times.
However, the hotel offers a space where families can go to chill out over a movie, play games or make crafts really sets this hotel aside from all other Cork hotels as it provides a place for families to relax after a busy day in the city away from their room. Furthermore, they offer picnic baskets should you wish to head out for the day to the likes of Fitzgerald’s park or Zipit in Farran woods and in these uncertain times for dining such a facility is a god send.
Family Breaks at The Maldron Hotel South Mall
Finally, the Earth Watchers programme in the hotel reenforces their sustainable policy. They have developed a roof top herb garden at the hotel, encouraging families to cultivate at home by giving every child that stays this Summer seeds, a pot and compost to grow their own sunflower. What’s more, Children are invited to take a picture and share the growth progress in order to win a family stay.
We had the pleasure of dining also in the bar and grill restaurant in the hotel and not only was the atmosphere and ambience just right, the food and food choices were excellent for families and coupes alike.
The Restaurant team were superb even when having deal with my complex dietary requests (dairy and gluten free). Here they really excelled by offering not just an option but a selection of options. Furthermore, the restaurant offered not only space but a welcoming environment for families and groups.
Family Dining at The Maldron Hotel South Mall
Finally, the children will look forward to breakfast while the French toast and waffles are on the menu at no extra charge. The Red Bean Roastery is a convenient as well as pleasant option for a quick snack or coffee and with their seating outside you can sit back and enjoy the city vibes.
Finally, the courtyard provides the perfect setting to sit outside and with its canopy covering it is even suitable when the dreaded rain returns.
If you do wish to dine in the city also check out Scoozi’s Restaurant and Uncle Pete’s or Market Lane which is just around the corner. Princess Street is almost completely covered so you have some great options here to dine out in comfort for families also and it is only a two minute stroll from The Maldron Hotel on South Mall.
Family Activities Nearby
A new Playful Culture Trail has just been launched featuring 30 fun things to do this summer for kids in museums, galleries, attractions, and green spaces throughout Cork City. Get started by picking up your free canvas goodie bag or download the virtual map at purecork.ie/playtrail, then choose where you want to go!
What I love about this project is that it is part of an overall mission to make Cork a playful, child friendly, active city and was developed in collaboration with all of the participating museums, galleries and attractions in Cork, in partnership with Playful Paradigm, Cork City Council, Cork Local Sports Partnership, Pure Cork, and Bus Eireann.
Further proof that our city is an excellent choice for family breaks in Cork.
What I would recommend for families is firstly, take a picnic to Fitzgerald’s park where you can enjoy the playground, Cork museum, park, sky garden and skate park (bring their scooters) all for free. Secondly, head on to Cork City gaol from here, one of the City’s Treasures.
Thirdly, head up to Shandon to find the right time on one of the 4 clock faces of Shandon and see the best views of the city. On your way back to the city pick up some traditional sweets from Linehan’s.
The Blackrock observatory is open for family groups to prebook the tour and astrometry experience. Blackrock Castle Observatory, the Space for Science, is Cork’s fun and exciting location to learn about the universe. Finally, The museum at Nano Nagle Place is top rated on Trip Advisor and a must visit for anyone who wants to discover ‘hidden Cork’. Just a mere 10 minute walk from the Maldron Hotel it is home to a beautiful garden oasis and the cafe is even better if you need a spot for lunch.
There is so much more that I could mention around the city but head to the play trails website for many more ideas. If you do wish to venture further a field, Fota Wildlife Park is approx. a 20 minute drive or you can get a train direct into the park.
I can also highly recommend Zipit, just 20 minutes from the city centre in Farran Woods. You could also take a picnic from The Maldron Hotel here as Zipit Forest adventures, the tree-top obstacle course takes about four hours but Farran Woods also houses a superb children’s playground and has many walks to enjoy and offers toilet facilities also.
Zipit Forest Adventures – 25.3km – 28 mins drive
Fota Wildlife Park – 22.2km – 27mins drive
Blackrock Observatory – 5.7km – 15 mins drive
Nano Nagles Place – 700m – 9 mins walk
Elizabeth’s Fort – 900m – 11 mins walk
Cork City Gaol – 3.9 km – 13 mins drive (10 mins walk from Fitzgerald’s Park)
Old Cork Waterwork Experience. – 3.4 km – 12 mins drive (12 mins walk from Fitzgerald’s Park)
Shandon Bells – 1.1km – 14n mins walk
Butter Museum – 1.1km – 13 mins walk
Fitzgerald’s Park – 2.8km – 30 mins walk (Number 8/5 Bus from Patrick’s Street)
The Marina Market – 1.1km – 14 mins walk
Family Fun at Sea – 2 Night Family Break – Includes Breakfast, Family Picnic & Cork City Boat Trip
In summary, Cork city is an easy city to navigate and being a smallish city it is easy to enjoy all that the city can offer as well as heading out and exploring the county. Moreover, the Maldron Hotel on South Mall is the perfect base to do just that. As city centre hotels go they have raised the bar for family breaks in Cork as they welcome as well as cater for families alongside the business guests and cosmopolitan tourists alike.
We’re always out and about exploring the best places for you and your family so if it’s inspiration you need read our blog for ideas as well as expert travel advice!
We went to see everyone’s favourite kooky family in their spectacular musical comedy, The Addams Family last night at The gaiety Theatre!
If you are looking to treat the little ones to an exciting weekend away or visit over mid-term check our best family hotel in Dublin review.
If want to take a mini break and enjoy 24 hours away or make a day of it we have it all covered for you in our guide to Christmas in Cork City